Wales, a bountiful land of trail running

Wales, a bountiful land of trail running

However, elsewhere again, on the other side of the Channel, UTMB went to see, in north-west Wales and its Ultra Trail Snowdonia (UTS) . At the beginning of July, an event that brought together 1100 participants in three distances: 165 km, 100 km and 50 km, which we were able to test.

8th CCC organizer

At the head of UTS, we find Michael Jones ( APEX is running ). The Welshman, who is also UTMB’s event director for the United Kingdom, finished 8th in the CCC in 2017, 8th in the Trans Gran Canaria over 82km and twice won the Lakeland 100 (160km) in England. He knows every nook and cranny of his training ground, Snowdonia National Park, which is the second largest of Britain’s 11 national parks. This is where he discovered the first UTS in 2017 and offers other trails as well.

165 km, 10000 m. Positive elevation

The 165 km main course also offered 10,000 meters of elevation gain. And of course, by a path through Mount Snowdon (1085m), the highest point in Wales. But the progress of the hundred runners was interrupted for safety reasons before they returned to Keffernaton, 12 hours later, not because of a snowstorm, but because of a violent wind.

Disappointed at having to prematurely abandon a magnificent postcard, many of them handed out a bib for 50 or 100 kilometers the next day. Always starting from Llanberis, and the National Slate Museum retracing the history of slate extraction, it has long been an activity of primary importance in Wales. Dinorvig’s large slate quarry alone employed 3,000 people.

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100 lakes, 90 peaks

The start of the 50 km and its 3100 m D+ is barely given, almost on the floor of the cows, in an already lush setting, it stands before us as the first peak. The higher you go the clearer the horizon becomes despite the typical British weather. Landscapes are more relaxing than difficult. Featuring a delicious mix of mountain peaks and lakes of all sizes, Snowdonia National Park has 90 peaks over 600 meters and 100 lakes. But mountain pastures with goats grazing, sometimes very colorful wild flora, ruins of buildings from another era, seas of stones and rocks, forests, the Irish Sea a few kilometers away as the crow flies, waterfalls and rivers. Even a steam train that takes visitors up Mount Snowdon.

Le Mont Snowdon, 6 km d’Ascension, 900 m d+

But if the landscapes are magical, it’s best not to get too swept up in them, or you’ll find 4 four irons in the air. As well as being steep, the climbs and descents are often very technical, with endless cobblestones or rocks beneath our feet. But under our arms, too, are sometimes more useful, not to say necessary, than our sticks.

After the first 2 parts of the climb, the third is more difficult. This is because Mount Snowdon has to be achieved with a 6km climb and 900m elevation gain.

25 to 165 km in 2023

A final dive into the valley for a final climb that has nothing to envy to Mount Snowdon and eventual release. What’s worse is that when you return to Llanberis, you already regret leaving them.

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If this tickles you to recognize excellence in every sense of the word at UTS, know that registration is already open for the fifth edition to be held from May 12 to 14, 2023. and 25 km. Complete the program!

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